Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Great news for Jubilee Pool

Tonight Penzance Town Council voted unanimously to put money into the grant bid to central government for our lido. As a part we undertake to enter negotiations with Cornwall Council and in partnership with the Friends of Jubilee Pool to have it devolved to the town. 
Those of you that read my earlier blog will know I had serious problems with the way this was went about by Cornwall Council. In summary we were informed last thursday there would be a meeting tonight and it was make or break for the grant application due in this friday the 9th of May (then in hands of govt to decide). Not enough time to fully consider the merits of the proposal.
Nevertheless I spoke and my main thrust was that yes was the only answer. The thought of losing this as an asset was unbearable.  Further the idea of having a derelict pool in such a prominent position was an unbearable one.
I did however criticise Cornwall Council for not coming to Penzance Town Council (and indeed the Friends of Jubilee Pool) sooner. This is after all the third application and we played no part in the first two bids. We should have been given ample time but weren't. I also criticised the fact that this could easily have been funded from Cornwall Council's capital budget rather than the devolution pot. I explained that this budget was £675 million for the years 2013 to 2017.
Both Cornwall Councillors present (Cornelius Olivier and Jim McKenna) criticised me for this, defended Cornwall Council spending and explained I was categorically wrong. I explained to both that I would show them the link and I have emailed them both. 

I take it from this that our Cornwall Councillors haven't lobbied for capital funding to be used for the pool and have little knowledge of the budget itself. Which is a real shame. My pride aside and disappointment that I have a better grasp of funding available to capital projects than our Cornwall Councillors. It was a very good meeting.
Now indeed the future of the Jubilee Pool is finally looking up, notwithstanding the whims of Whitehall and Eric Pickles who will decide the grants fate. We could be looking at an investment of nearly £3 million in the pool. Which will not only repair the storm damage but repair and refurbish those parts that haven't been good for a while. Hopefully we can go from a tired and dated structure in a prominent position to one we can all be proud of. This is not only thanks to Cornwall Councillors, town councillors but also to the indefatigable Friends of Jubilee Pool and the 4000 who signed the petition calling on Cornwall Council to match fund the bid.

*****UPDATE*****
Jim McKenna replied this morning and explained he thought I was talking about this years revenue budget not the four yearly capital budget. I can only think that as he was sitting behind me he didn't hear me clearly and perhaps I was not speaking loudly enough....
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Further update

Councillor Olivier (also Labour's general candidate for the St Ives constituency) emailed he disagreed with my points in a rather rude fashion accusing me of being parochial and ill informed. Cornelius ignored the fact I was right about the capital budget and what he said in the meeting was wrong. Amazing how a year changes things last year he along with Tim Dwelly wrote to the Cornishman including the sentence: "Our aim is to get a fair share of Cornwall Council investment ." But now the story is there's no money and we should bow and grovel for a few crumbs from the table...